Becoming a Healthier Pastor
by Ronald W. Richardson
Becoming a Healthier Pastor by Ronald W. Richardson evaluates the relational health of a pastor using family systems theory. The book is divided into three parts. Richardson shares the relationships between the pastor’s health and how to minister to others.
Unresolved Emotional Attachment
Becoming a Healthier Pastor introduces the reader to the challenges of ministry. The first part of the book provides a resource for moving toward greater health. One of the challenges is addressing the pastor’s own emotional system and unresolved emotional attachment. Richardson shares some common difficulties in ministry related to unresolved emotional attachment with family.
“Doing the Work”
The second part of the book can help the pastor with important insights. Family systems theory can be used to provide perspective. The pastor can use this theory to address the challenges related to the role of the pastor. Richardson calls this “doing the work.” This work includes addressing and coming to terms with the pastor’s own family of origin. The pastor must learn how to differentiate themselves from their family of origin.
The key is to separate oneself from the family in such a way that the pastor can objectively look at the family origin. The pastor must identify the challenges, unhealthy practices, and problems of his own family. One should work to effectively define oneself. Meanwhile, the pastor also needs to deal with the unhealthy triangles. Doing this “work” can help the pastor to be emotionally healthier. The health of a church is only as good as the health of its pastor. The more family of origin work that the pastor can do, the more positive experience the pastor will have with the church.
Pastor as Coach
The third part of the church addresses the pastor as “coach.” Here, Richardson suggests providing a ministry of family of origin groups in the church. He shares how to successfully develop this ministry in the church.
In conclusion, the church can only be as healthy as its pastor. This book addresses an important facet of health (how one deals with their own family relationships). A pastor who comes to terms with their family of origin is better prepared to deal with the church family. Becoming a Healthier Pastor by Ronald W. Richardson serves as a useful guide to fulfill that purpose.